German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and First Lady Elke Buedenbender Chat with refugees attending the training program for mechanics while visiting the Gallinchen job training and technology center on June 23, 2017 in Cottbus, Germany

The EU’s migration roadmap: harnessing North African talent to bridge the labor gap

September 2023 Al-Monitor PRO Trend Report 

3,105 words



On July 25, leading German engineering firm Geodesia forged a major partnership with Morocco's Agency for Employment and Skills Development. The goal: to train and employ 10,000 Moroccans in Germany, a welcome development for the North African nation grappling with a soaring youth unemployment crisis. This landmark agreement is not just about engineering jobs; it's part of a grand European strategy. For years, European nations have been courting talent from the Maghreb region, offering youth opportunities in key domains with domestic shortages such as IT, science, engineering, healthcare and agriculture. Now, the European Union (EU) and its member states are taking this strategy even further, tailoring new policies to attract more skilled migrants from North Africa, even while aggressively cracking down on irregular migration from the same region. 

One way the EU has championed this selective migration strategy is through its Talent Partnerships Initiative, a program announced in its New Pact on Migration and Asylum to “enhance legal pathways to the EU” for workers from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan. To kick off the initiative, the EU held roundtables with Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt from April-June 2023, and is moving “toward implementation with analysis of sectors, occupations, as well as identification of skills levels and training needs as next step,” European Commission Spokesperson for Home Affairs Anitta Hipper told Al-Monitor. 

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